Rookie extension talks for Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton have reached a conclusion without a deal on the books, making Ayton’s future in AZ uncertain.
It seems as if everyone from the 2018 NBA Draft class got the payday they deserved. Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Michael Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander all got the contract extensions they’ve played to earn to this point.
But Deandre Ayton, who helped guide the Phoenix Suns to an NBA Finals appearance a year ago, still hasn’t gotten his windfall contract — and it apparently isn’t happening anytime soon.
On Monday and the even of the 2021-22 NBA season tipping off, ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that rookie contract extension talks between Ayton and the Suns ended without a deal.
Deandre Ayton wanted a max extension but Suns owner Robert Sarver didn’t offer one.
While the door was figuratively slammed in Ayton’s face during contract talks, that doesn’t mean that this is it for the promising 23-year-old big man.
Ayton still has one year left on his rookie deal, allowing him the chance to prove to the Suns that he’s worth his desired contract. Ayton wanted a deal worth $172.5 million that could reach $207 million, but instead will be paid $12.6 million for the 2021-22 season.
Because the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, Ayton will enter free agency as a restricted free agent next year. All the Suns would have to do is match whatever any other team is willing to pay.
What adds insult to injury is that Ayton’s teammate and fellow draftees, Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet, are also eligible for contract extensions. And Bridges got his done on Sunday in a four-year, $90 million deal.
Ayton, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, hasn’t gotten him, and he just had the best season of his three-year career. In their Finals-bound season, Ayton averaged 14.4 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game. He was recently ranked No. 9 in FanSided’s 25-under-25 for NBA players. Of the 2018 draft class, Ayton was behind only Doncic and Young in those rankings.
Ayton didn’t get the deal he wanted from the Suns in negotiations, but if he continues to play the way he did in 2021, he will get that money from some team — whether that’s Phoenix, however, remains to be seen.